Seattle police have launched an internal investigation into Thursday’s fatal shooting of a suspected bank robber by a detective.
The shooting happened around 11:45 a.m. during a confrontation that took place while police were searching for the suspect near Viretta Park near the Madison Park neighborhood.
Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson said a detective in the department’s robbery unit spotted the suspect in the yard of a home in the 100 block of 39th Avenue East. Jamieson said the suspect was armed with a knife that he refused to drop.
The detective fired because the man “presented a threat,” police said. Police did not immediately say whether the suspect lunged at police, or made some other threatening move.
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He was declared dead at the scene.
The detective, who has not been publicly identified, has been placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.
The internal police investigation will be overseen by the department’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), according to police and OPA Director Pierce Murphy.
The robbery was reported around 9:15 a.m. at the Wells Fargo Bank in Madison Park near East Madison Street and McGilvra Boulevard East, police said. The man was reportedly wearing women’s clothing, “lots of makeup” and a brunette wig, according to police.
He fled the bank in a silver Hyundai, police said.
About 15 minutes later, police were called to 39th Avenue East and East John Street where witnesses reported that a silver Hyundai had crashed and rolled over, according to police.
A man was seen running from the vehicle, dragging a rolling suitcase, police said.
Witnesses also told police the fleeing man was shedding clothes as he ran, police said.
An area search that included K-9 units and members of the SWAT team was initially unsuccessful, Jamieson said. But police remained in the area, he said.
Shortly before the shooting, a resident called police to report seeing a man in the yard, Jamieson said.
The suspect was confronted in the yard of a resident’s home where he was shot, Jamieson said.
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